« ZurückWeiter »
and the wings extended. The great dome is 140 feet high, and the total length of the building 740 feet, covering about four acres; and the whole structure, when completed, will have been erected at an expense of about ten millions of dollars.
Under the dome, in the middle of the building, is the rotunda, 95 feet in diameter and of the same hight, and adorned with sculpture in stone panels in bold relief. The subjects are: Capt. Smith saved by Pocahontas; Landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth; Conflict between Daniel Boone and the Indians; Penn's Treaty with the Indians. Within the circuit of the dome are eight pannels, having the following paintings: Declaration of Independence; Surrender of Burgoyne; Surrender of Cornwallis; Washington resigning his Commission; these four were painted by Trumbull; the other four are : "Embarkation of the Pilgrims," at Leyden, by Weir; "Landing of Columbus,” by Vanderlyn; the “Baptism of Pocahontas,” by Chapman; and “Discovery of the Mississippi by De Soto," by Powell.
By the door at the eastern entrance of the rotunda, is the statue of War, by Persico. It is of Carrara marble, and is about 9 feet high: the costume is that of an ancient warrior; on the other side of the door is the figure of Peace : a maiden clothed in simple garb, with the olive branch, etc. On the southern abutment of the grand steps is Persico's marble group, the Discorery of America, representing Columbus, and an Indian female startled at the appearance of a stranger of an unknown race. Columbus is holding a globe, and is clad in armor, said to be accurate to a rivet, being copied from a suit in the palace of his descendants at Genoa. The group on the northern abutment, is by Greenough, entitled Civilization; it consists of a mother and child,
a savage with his tomahawk, who is prevented from striking by the father, etc. The “Statue of Washington," by Greenough, is in the square east of the capitol. It is of colossal size, partially clothed in the Roman costume, in a sitting posture, with the right hand pointing upward, and the left hold. ing a Roman sword with the handle turned from the person. At the western entrance of the capitol stands the Naval Monument, erected by the officers of the navy, to the memory of their brother officers who fell in the war with Tripoli.
It originally stood at the NATAL MONUMENT, WASHINGTON.
navy yard; it is of mar.
ble, about 40 feet high. It has a large square base, on which are placed various additions, and a column, from which project beaks of ships—the whole being surmounted by an
eagle. On one side of the base is a view of Tripoli and the American fleet; on another the words, “To the memory of Somers, Caldwell, Decatur, Wadsworth, Dorsey, Israel;" on another, their epitaphs, or short history, etc. At the base of the column are the figures of Mercury, Fame, History and America.
Mills' equestrian statue of Washington was inaugurated February 22, 1860. “The Father of his country is represented as he appeared at the Battle of Princeton,' where, after attempting several times in vain to rally his troops, he put spurs to his horse and dashes up to the cannon's mouth. His terror-stricken horse stops and recoils, while the balls tear up the earth beneath his feet; but Washington, cool, calm, collected and dignified, believing himself simply an instrument in the hands of Providence to work out the great problem of liberty, remains firmly seated, like a god upon his throne. The repose of the hero at this moment of imminent peril to his life, contrasts admirably with the fearful agitation manifested by his noble but unreasoning steed, who is sustained by none of the considerations which impart courage to the hero and the Christian.”
North front of the President's House, Washington. The PRESIDENT's House is upward of one mile west of the capitol, on the road to Georgetown, on a plat of ground of 20 acres, 44 feet above high water. It has a north and south front, around both of which the grounds are tastefully laid out, and beautifully adorned with forest-trees and shrubbery. The mansion is built of white free-stone, and has a front of 170 with a depth of 86 feet. The northern front has a lofty portico of four Ionic columns in front, and projecting with three columns, beneath which pass the carriages of visiters; opposite the front door, across a large open vestibule or hall, is the reception-room, sometimes called the blue room, beautifully papered, carpeted, and furnished with chairs, etc. Opening into the reception-room is an apartment known as the green room, of 30 by 22 feet.
The east room adjoining, is 80 feet long by 40 wide, and 22 feet high; this is most elegantly furnished.
A very superior bronze statue of Jefferson, formerly in the rotunda of the capitol, stands on a pedestal in the small square directly in front of the President's house. It was presented to the government by Capt. Levy, of the U. S. navy, the proprietor of Monticello, the seat of Jefferson, in Virginia. The statue holds in the left hand a scroll of the declaration of independence; and in the right a pen, as if he had just completed this celebrated instrument. The bronze equestrian statue of Jackson, in La Fayette square, opposite the President's house, is one-third larger than life, after a model by Mills, representing the horse as rearing, self-balanced and sustained, while the general waves his hat in acknowledgment of the honor paid him as he is reviewing his troops.
The State Department, which stands N. E. of the President's house, and within the same inclosure, is a plain brick building, 2 stories high, 160 feet long and 55 wide, containing 32 rooms. It has a valuable library of some 15,000 volumes. The Copyright Bureau contains some 12,000 volumes published in this country. The Treasury Department, a stone edifice, stands at the eastern extremity of the square, 340 feet long and 170 wide. The front is a colonnade stretching the entire length of the building, copied from the Temple of Minerva at Athens.
The War Department building occupies the N. W. corner of the square. It is the headquarters of the officers of the army. This Department comprises the War office proper, with various other departments connected with the military service. It is furnished with a library of 10,000 volumes. The flags taken in the war of the Revolution, in that of 1812 with Great Britain, and many trophies won from Mexico, are carefully preserved in this department.
The Navy Department building lies directly west of the President's house, and in the rear of the War Department. It has five bureaus relating to the Naval Service. Between thirty and forty national flags, trophies of battle, are displayed in one of the rooms of the Navy Commissioners.
The Department of the Interior, or Home Department, is the most extensive connected with the government, but its building is not yet completed. A portion is occupied as the Patent Office. The titles of the bureaus connected with the Interior Department are the Land Office, Patent Office, Indian Office and Pension Office. In the second story of the building now occupied as the Patent Office is the original Declaration of Independence, the relies of Washington, including his camp-chest, the gifts presented from time to time to the government, Franklin's printing-press, a collection of Indian portraits by King, etc. In the first story of the same building are collected all the models of the machines that have been patented since the foundation of the government. The second floor is thrown into one grand saloon, appropriately named the National Gallery, where are exhibited specimens of home manufactures, numerous subjects of natural history, etc. The length of this hall is 264 feet, breadth 64, and hight 30 feet. The room is ornamented with rows of massive stone Doric columns.
The National Observatory is situated about two miles from the capitol, on Camp Hill, from which is obtained a fine prospect of Washington and Georgetown. It is a Naval Institution, under the control and management of Lieut. M. F. Maury, U. S. N. The Great Equatorial Telescope used here is a noble instrument, unvailing, as it were, new worlds, and the beholder sees through
it the mountains and volcanoes of the moon, the planets Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, Venus, etc., as magnificent orbs surrounded by their accompanying satellites. The most wonderful object in this establishment, is the ElectroChronograph, invented by Dr. Locke, of Cincinnati. By its connection with an electrical battery in the building, its ticks can be heard in any part of the country to which the telegraph wires lead, when it is put in connection with them. By it the astronomer in Boston and New Orleans can tell the time as well as by the clock in his own room.
Lecture-Room of Smithsonian Institution, Washington City. The Smithsonian Institution owes its existence to the will of James Smithson, of England, a relative of the Duke of Northumberland, who about thirty years since died at Genoa, leaving to the United States more than half a million of dollars “to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men.” In July, 1836, Congress solemnly accepted the trust. The building is situated in the open mall below the capitol. It is of stone, in the Romanesque style of architecture. The length of the whole edifice is 450 feet, with a breadth of 140 feet. There are nine towers in the various parts of the building, varying in hight from 75 to 150 feet. The reasons which induced Mr. Smithson to make this bequest are unknown. He never was in the United States, had no friends or acquaintances here, and is not known to have been partial to republican institutions.
The Post-Office Department, built of white marble, after the Corinthian order of architecture, is three stories high, 204 feet long, and 102 feet deep.
It occupies a central position in the city, near the Department of the Interior, both of which are about half a mile from the President's house. The Office of the Coast Survey lies a little east of the capitol. Great progress has been made in an accurate survey of a large extent of our coast both on the Atlantic and Pacific. The Navy Yard is situated near the mouth of the eastern branch of the Potomac. It covers an area of about twenty acres, and the works are very extensive. The Arsenal occupies a fine position at Greenleaf's Point, on the extreme southern point of the city.
On the 10th of Aug., 1814, a British fleet of 60 sail, under Admiral Cockburn, with a land force of 6,000 men, the flower of Lord Wellington's army, appeared in Chesapeake Bay for the attack on Washington. The fleet proceeded up the Potomac, and on the 19th commenced landing on the left bank of the Patuxent at Benedict, forty miles from Washington. On the 20th the troops commenced their march up the river. Commodore Barney, with the American flotilla, having retired two miles above Marlborough, finding it impossible to prevent his boats from falling into the hands of the enemy, blew them up and proceeded to join Gen. Winder. On the 24th a stand was taken by the Americans at Bladensburg. The following account of the events which followed, is from “Perkins' Hist. of the Late War":
“At half past twelve, before the second line was completely formed, the battle commenced. The Baltimore artillery fired upon and dispersed the British light troops advancing along the streets of the village. They immediately took shelter behind the buildings and trees, and presented only single objects for the artillery. The British now commenced throwing rockets, and began to concentrate their light troops at the bridge, which the American general had not taken the precaution to destroy. The riflemen and artillery now poured in a destructive fire upon this body, and cut them down in great numbers as they advanced. The British at length gained the bridge, rapidly passed it, formed, and passed steadily on, flank. ing to the left, and compelled the riflemen and artillery to give way. Major Pinckney was severely wounded. He exerted himself to rally his men, and succeeded in forming them at a small distance in the rear of his first position, and united with the fifth Baltimore regiment. General Stansbury continued about four hundred yards in the rear of the battery, and left this division to contend with the whole force of the enemy, until it was compelled to retire. The British then occupied the ground they had left, and continued to advance. Col. Sterrett, with the 5th Baltimore regiment, and Captain Birch with his artillery, were ordered to advance to support the first line. The British soon took advantage of the orchard which had just been occupied by the retreating troops, and kept up a galling fire on the American line. Captain Birch now opened a cross fire with some effect. Colonel Sterrett made a prompt movement in advance, but was ordered to halt. At this time the enemy's rockets assumed a more horizontal direction, and passing near the heads of Colonel Shultz and Pragan's regiments, caused the right wing to give way, which was immediately followed by a general flight of the two regiments.
Birch's artillery and the 5th regiment remained, and continued their fire with effect. The British light troops were for a short time driven back, but immediately rallied and gained the right flank of the fifth. This regiment, with the artillery, were then ordered to fall back and form a small distance in the rear. But instead of retreating in order, the fifth followed the example of the other two regiments and fled in confusion. The whole of the first line was now completely routed. Various attempts were made to rally, but without success. No move ments were made by the cavalry to cover the retreat, though the open and scattered manner in which the pursuit was conducted afforded a fine opportunity for a charge by the cavalry. This line retreated upon a road which in a short distance forked into three branches, one leading to Montgomery Court-house, on the Potomac, fifteen miles above Washington, one to Georgetown, and the other to the capital. General Winder endeavored to direct the retreating forces to the city,